In discussing the retail store industry recently, we pointed out that Wal-Mart is doing a better job than ever with its brand – which is frightening when you consider how poorly its competition is doing.
More than two years ago, Wal-Mart began rolling out a new brand based on the themeline “Save Money. Live Better.” It also repainted its stores to bring them up to a new, brighter and more optimistic look than it had before.
The “Live Better” was the key, as it suggested the reason why you want to save money and, thus, it got Wal-Mart over its largest hump: Having permission to talk to those who thought Wal-Mart was too downscale to shop.
The important point here is that, you watch, others will try to follow that lead. Target, of course, has “Expect More. Pay Less.” That isn’t far off what Wal-Mart is doing, but for lots of reasons Wal-Mart’s is more effective. (It’s has the emphasis in the right place and is more emotional.)
However, when everybody follows the market leader it only helps the market leader. And that is what keeps most market leaders on top. Budweiser continues to dominate the beer market because everyone else tries to copy them. Bank of America continues to lead the banking industry because of the same reason. And on and on.
You watch. Retailers will copy Wal-Mart’s messaging and wonder later why it didn’t work. Maybe they should try something else.